In this crackling alternate history thriller set in the years after World War II—the riveting sequel to The Darkest Hour—London detective John Rossett joins forces with his Nazi boss to save the commander’s kidnapped daughter as the Germans race to make the first atomic bomb.
With the end of the war, the victorious Germans now occupy a defeated Great Britain. In London, decorated detective John Henry Rossett, now reporting to the Nazi victors, lies in a hospital bed recovering from gunshot wounds. Desperate to avoid blame over the events that led to the shooting, his boss, Ernst Koehler, covers up the incident. But when Koehler’s wife and daughter are kidnapped by American spies, the terrified German turns to the only man he trusts to help him—a shrewd cop who will do whatever is necessary to get the job done: John Rossett.
Surviving his brush with death, Rossett agrees to save his friend’s daughter. But in a chaotic new world ruled by treachery and betrayal, doing the right thing can get a man killed. Caught between the Nazi SS, the violent British resistance, and Americans with very uncertain loyalties, Rossett must secretly make his way out of London and find Ruth Hartz, a Jewish scientist working in Cambridge. Spared from death because of her intellect and expertise, she is forced to work on developing the atom bomb for Germany. Though she knows it could end any hope of freedom in Europe and maybe even the world, Ruth must finish the project—if she, too, wants to survive.
The British Lion is the second alternative history novel that I have read recently. By far the better one but I still found it a difficult book to read at times. I have to admit that this due partly to my lack of knowledge regarding the people who were in power at the time and the events in the first few years after WW2. But it is also a very dark novel, full of characters who all had no hesitation at using violence and there were only a couple of characters who had any loyalty to others.
The author was fantastic at describing the darkness of England at the time. The level of mistrust, the bad weather and bleakness everywhere was very convincing and just a little claustrophobic.
It is the sequel novel and I hadn’t read the first but it didn’t matter. There were a few hints but no great spoilers.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received for review.